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Published On: Wed, Jul 9th, 2014

Senate urges doctors to shelve strike

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senate-chamber_anti_terrorism_billBy Ikechukwu Okaforadi

Senate has begun moves to lobby members of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) to end the on-going industrial action recently embarked upon by members of the association last week.

Speaking yesterday, through a motion brought before the Senate at plenary, the chairman of Senate Committee on Health, Ifanyi Okowa, called the attention of the lawmakers to the on-going strike by the medical doctors working in public hospitals.

He said members of the Senate health committee, including Chris Ngige, Bukola Saraki, among others, learnt about the strike and held an emergency meeting with the national executive of the NMA towards resolving the dispute.

Okowa, who explained that during the meeting, the doctors demanded that certain circulars should be issued by the ministry of health before they could go back to provide emergency services at the hospitals, which has been complied with by the ministry.

He further pointed out that in the meeting, they talked to the doctors on the need to call of the strike, to enable further dialogue with the government and prevent casualty in the hospitals.

While noting that members of the Senate Health Committee could not meet with the Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, on how to resolve the issues, because he travelled abroad on official trip, Okowa said they however had a fruitful meeting with the Permanent Secretary of the ministry.

Speaking further, Okowa said at the meeting with the doctors, they  stated their demands, which he said the committee is still working hard to mediate between the striking doctors and federal government.

In his response, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, appealed to the doctors to consider the plight of the patients and go back to work.

Ekweremadu lamented that if the strike is allowed to continue, the patients will suffer for the NMA and government disagreement, even though they are innocent of whatever is the disagreement.

He reminded the doctors that their primary duty was to save lives, urging them to resume duty immediately considering the essential responsibility they have to the people.

Recall that the NMA members have been on strike since last week, over poor welfare and poor condition of service, and included in their demands is the inconvenience allowance of N100,000 per month for members.

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